Are diverse teams really more creative and effective or do they simply invite more conflict? Explain.

Essay by CwalkUniversity, Bachelor's December 2006

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It is not simply to answer diverse teams which are more creative and effective or invite more conflict. Compare to homogeneous teams which is "team that includes members with common technical expertise, demographics, ethnicity, experiences or values" (McShane & Travaglione, 2003, p269) and individuals, diverse teams have advantages and disadvantages depend on different situations. Based on current workplace, Griggs and Louw (1995, p24) discussed that today's more and more organisations use diverse teams to achieve the high performance and keep the competitive advantage as increasing diverse marketplace; Gautschi (1996, p320) also pointed that "teams are becoming less homogeneous as companies hire new workers". Why? Dahlin, Weingart and Hinds (2005, p1107) explained that diverse teams are becoming popular because they can develop innovative products, improve efficiency as solving complex problems and make important decisions based on their different backgrounds and multiple perspectives and skills. According to McShane and Travaglione (2003, p269), diverse teams are generally more effective than homogenous teams in the situations which include solving complex problems and produce innovative solutions.

Diverse teams also have disadvantages which will decrease team effectiveness. Robbins, Millett & Water-Marsh (2004, p295) listed six disadvantages of diverse teams, such as ambiguity, complexity and confusion, miscommunication, difficulty in reaching a single agreement and difficulty in agreeing on specific actions; so diverse teams "experience more conflict and take longer to develop" (McShane and Travaglione, 2003, p269). Robbins, Millett & Water-Marsh (2004, p295) also explained the reasons which because diverse teams have diverse personal characteristics and backgrounds, members in the diverse teams will take long time to discuss issues and spend more time to make a decision. As Kravitz (2005, pi) discussed if organisations want to use creative and effective diverse teams to achieve high performance, they should know how to lead a diverse team; how to create...